NVIDIA* Drivers

NVIDIA manufactures graphics processing units (GPU), also known as graphics cards.

NVIDIA devices on Linux* have two popular device driver options: the opensource drivers from the nouveau project or the proprietary drivers published by NVIDIA. The nouveau drivers are built into the Clear Linux* OS kernel and are loaded automatically at system boot if a compatible card is detected.

These instructions show how to use the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, which require a manual installation.


Software installed outside of swupd is not updated with Clear Linux OS updates and must be updated and maintained manually.

For example, the file /usr/lib/libGL.so conflicts with the file provided by the mesa package in Clear Linux OS and the file NVIDIA provides. If a Clear Linux OS update overwrites these files, a reinstallation of the NVIDIA driver might be required.


  • A Clear Linux OS system with a desktop installed
  • An NVIDIA device installed

Install DKMS

The Dynamic Kernel Module System (DKMS) allows the NVIDIA kernel modules to be automatically integrated when kernel updates occur in Clear Linux OS.

Install the appropriate DKMS bundle using the instructions below:


The Long Term Support (LTS) kernel variant is more likely to remain compatible between updates with NVIDIA drivers.

The kernel-native-dkms bundle provides the dkms program and Linux kernel headers, which are required for compiling kernel modules.

The kernel-native-dkms bundle also:

  • Adds a systemd update trigger (/usr/lib/systemd/system/dkms-new-kernel.service) to automatically run DKMS to rebuild modules after a kernel upgrade occurs with swupd update.
  • Disables kernel module signature verification by appending a kernel command-line parameter (module.sig_unenforce) from the /usr/share/kernel/cmdline.d/clr-ignore-mod-sig.conf file.
  • Adds a notification to the Message of the Day (MOTD) indicating kernel module signature verification is disabled.


We recommend that you always review the swupd update output to make sure kernel modules were successfully rebuilt against the new kernel. This is especially important for systems where a successful boot relies on a kernel module.

Install the kernel-native-dkms or kernel-lts-dkms bundle:

  1. Determine which kernel variant is running on Clear Linux OS. Only the native and lts kernels are enabled to build and load out-of-tree kernel modules with DKMS.

    $ uname -r

    Ensure .native or .lts is in the kernel name.

  2. Install the DKMS bundle corresponding to the installed kernel. Use kernel-native-dkms for the native kernel or kernel-lts-dkms for the lts kernel.

    sudo swupd bundle-add kernel-native-dkms


    sudo swupd bundle-add kernel-lts-dkms
  3. Update the Clear Linux OS bootloader and reboot.

    sudo clr-boot-manager update

Download and install the NVIDIA drivers

Download the NVIDIA drivers for Linux

  1. Identify the NVIDIA GPU model that is installed.

    sudo lshw -C display
  2. Go to the NVIDIA Driver Downloads website . Search for and download the appropriate driver based on the NVIDIA GPU model you have with Linux 64-bit selected as the Operating System .

  3. Open a terminal and navigate to where the NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run file was saved. In this example, it was saved in the Downloads folder.

    cd ~/Downloads/
  4. Make the NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run file executable.

    chmod +x :file:`NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run`

Disable the nouveau driver

The proprietary NVIDIA driver is incompatible with the nouveau driver and must be disabled before installation can continue.

  1. Disable the nouveau driver by creating a blacklist file under /etc/modprobe.d and reboot.

    sudo mkdir /etc/modprobe.d
    printf "blacklist nouveau \noptions nouveau modeset=0 \n" | sudo tee --append /etc/modprobe.d/disable-nouveau.conf
  2. Reboot the system and log back in. It is normal for the graphical environment not to start without the NVIDIA driver loaded.

Configure alternative software paths

The NVIDIA installer is directed to install files under /opt/nvidia as much as possible to keep its contents isolated from the rest of the Clear Linux OS system files under /usr. The dynamic linker and X server must be configured to use the content under /opt/nvidia.

  1. Configure the dynamic linker to look for and to cache shared libraries under /opt/nvidia/lib and /opt/nvidia/lib32 in addition to the default paths.

    echo "include /etc/ld.so.conf.d/*.conf" |  sudo tee --append /etc/ld.so.conf
    sudo mkdir /etc/ld.so.conf.d
    printf "/opt/nvidia/lib \n/opt/nvidia/lib32 \n" | sudo tee --append /etc/ld.so.conf.d/nvidia.conf
  2. Reload the dynamic linker run-time bindings and library cache.

    sudo ldconfig
  3. Create a Xorg configuration file to search for modules under /opt/nvidia in addition to the default path.

    sudo mkdir -p /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
    sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/nvidia-files-opt.conf > /dev/null <<'EOF'
    Section "Files"
            ModulePath      "/usr/lib64/xorg/modules"
            ModulePath      "/opt/nvidia/lib64/xorg/modules"

Install the NVIDIA drivers

  1. A terminal not running on /dev/tty1 is useful to view uninterrupted installation progress. Switch to a secondary virtual terminal by pushing CTRL + ALT + F2 or remotely login over SSH.

  2. Navigate to the directory where the NVIDIA installer was downloaded.

    cd ~/Downloads/
  3. Run the installer with the advanced options below.

    sudo ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run \
    --utility-prefix=/opt/nvidia \
    --opengl-prefix=/opt/nvidia \
    --compat32-prefix=/opt/nvidia \
    --compat32-libdir=lib32 \
    --x-prefix=/opt/nvidia \
    --x-module-path=/opt/nvidia/lib64/xorg/modules \
    --x-library-path=/opt/nvidia/lib64 \
    --x-sysconfig-path=/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d \
    --documentation-prefix=/opt/nvidia \
    --application-profile-path=/etc/nvidia \
    --no-precompiled-interface \
    --no-nvidia-modprobe \
    --no-distro-scripts \
    --force-libglx-indirect \
    --glvnd-egl-config-path=/etc/glvnd/egl_vendor.d \
    --egl-external-platform-config-path=/etc/egl/egl_external_platform.d  \
    --dkms \
  4. The graphical interface may automatically start after the NVIDIA driver is loaded. Return to the working terminal and log back in if necessary.

  5. Confirm that the NVIDIA kernel modules are loaded.

    lsmod | grep ^nvidia
  6. Run a Clear Linux OS system verification to restore files that the NVIDIA installer likely deleted.

    sudo swupd repair --quick --bundles=lib-opengl


The NVIDIA software places some files under the /usr subdirectory that are not managed by Clear Linux OS and conflict with the Clear Linux OS stateless design.

Although a limited version of swupd repair is run above, other uses of the swupd repair command should be avoided with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers installed.

Updating the NVIDIA drivers

The proprietary NVIDIA drivers are installed manually outside of swupd and must be updated manually when needed.

Updating the NVIDIA drivers follows the same steps as initial installation, however the desktop environment must first be stopped so that the drivers are not in use.

  1. Follow the steps in the Download the NVIDIA Drivers for Linux section to get the latest NVIDIA drivers.

  2. Temporarily set the default boot target to the multi-user, which is a non-graphical runtime.

    sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target
  3. Reboot the system and log back in. It is normal for the graphical environment not to start.

  4. Follow the steps in the Install the NVIDIA Drivers section to update the NVIDIA drivers. This installation will overwrite the previous NVIDIA drivers and files.

  5. Set the default boot target back to the graphical target.

    sudo systemctl set-default graphical.target
  6. Reboot the system and log back in.

  7. Trigger a flatpak update that will download the runtime corresponding with the new NVIDIA drivers for the flatpak apps that require it.

    flatpak update

Uninstalling the NVIDIA drivers

The NVIDIA drivers and associated software can be uninstalled and nouveau driver restored with the instructions in this section.

  1. Remove the modprobe.d file that prevents nouveau from loading.

    sudo rm /etc/modprobe.d/disable-nouveau.conf
  2. Remove the xorg.conf.d file that adds a search path for X modules.

    sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/nvidia-files-opt.conf
  3. Run the sudo /opt/nvidia/bin/nvidia-uninstall

  4. Follow the prompts on the screen and reboot the system.

Debugging installation of NVIDIA drivers

  • The NVIDIA driver places installer and uninstaller logs under /var/log/nvidia-install and /var/log/nvidia-uninstall.
  • NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run --advanced-options shows many parameters to control installation behavior.
  • NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.run --extract-only extracts installation files into a directory named NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-<VERSION>.